Whether from furlough, temporary shutdowns, or protected leave on an individual basis, welcoming employees back to work properly is critical for hourly workforce operations in 2021. As a leader within your organization, it is up to you to mindfully acknowledge the ongoing crisis of COVID-19, as well as the unique ways it may be affecting each of your individual employees.
Return-to-work surveys offer an avenue for measuring that impact and coming up with solutions to facilitate the transition. According the SHRM, without knowing where your employees stand on certain issues, you could delay your business from returning to normal operations and bringing employees back safely.
Return-to-work surveys offer a solution to help you understand what you need to prioritize, as well as what to expect, so you can manage your operation with confident insights.
Are Return-to-Work Surveys Necessary?
Surveying employees on returning to work is paramount for hearing from your employees after, say, a COVID-19 lockdown. However, you don’t need to limit your use of them to full-scale workforce use. Return to work surveys can also be used on individual bases and as often as is appropriate, depending on your employee handbook policy.
For instance, you may choose to reissue a survey after a COVID-related plant shut down, as well as after an individual returns from a prolonged absence or period of remote work. Regardless of the approach you deem most valuable for your operation, know that using some kind of return-to-work survey can have many benefits. They can help:
- Gauge how your employees actually feel about returning to the workplace during the coronavirus outbreak;
- Provide extra opportunities to alleviate employees’ specific pain points before they return;
- Assist with identifying ways to motivate your employees to return to work or accept certain COVID-related safety measures to do with masks, vaccines, etc.;
- Help determine how to modify your work environment and standard operating procedures to increase employee morale and lower anxiety; and
- Increase overall understanding whether more communication or training is needed for your workers during this time.
What Should Your Return to Work Survey Include?
Your return-to-work survey doesn’t have to be long to give you a deeper understanding of your employees’ needs. The point is to understand your workforce’s fears, so your business can address them appropriately.
Here are some of the top categories/areas to consider addressing:
- Morale: Are you looking forward to returning to work? Do you feel confident in how the transition is being handled? What can our company do to make returning a positive experience?
- Weighing Mental Health: Do you feel fully reassured about returning to work? Is there anything specific our company can do to increase your ease about returning? What are your specific fears?
- Transition Pain Points: Are you prepared to commute to work again? Are your family and childcare needs going to be affected by your return to work? Are accommodations needed for you to engage in full-time work?
- Hazard Protocol: Are you willing to wear a face masks as described in the employee handbook? Do you understand the importance of symptom screening? What would make you feel the most comfortable for reporting COVID-19 hazards? Would you get vaccinated if provided by our company free of charge?
- Evaluating Company Action: How has communication with your manager/our organization been during this transition? Is our company communicating enough?
- Defense Against Liability: Do you know why you were furloughed? Do you understand the reasons operations had to cease temporarily?
You may want to consider giving a post return-to-work survey, in addition to your regular return-to-work survey. Doing so would allow you improve your survey questions and identify any remaining needs of your employees.
Employee Feedback on Vaccines
As with many survey subjects, the way you phrase certain questions will be important for ensuring employees feel supported and respected upon returning to your operation. How your employees respond to certain topics could end up impacting your decisions as an organization.
The subject of vaccines is a particularly controversial one and one that will need to be addressed with neutrality. According to SHRM, a significant number of workers say they are unlikely to get vaccinated. At the same time, 33% of Americans believe the COVID-19 vaccine should be mandatory for those who are able to receive it.
If a large number of workers remain fearful of vaccines, you will need to prepare your facilities for the effect it will have on reopening safely. Whether you choose to make vaccines mandatory, offer them as optional through work, or leave them as a private matter is your employee’s choice. That said, you must not retaliate against individual employees based on their answers to your survey.
Need Help Conducting Surveys?
When you choose EPAY Systems, you’re choosing more than just a workforce management system or payroll provider. You’re choosing a team of HR and technology experts whose award-winning Human Capital Management (HCM) solution makes it easy to conduct things like employee surveys.
With our library of 300+ survey questions, you’ll have everything you need to need to ensure personalized, timely assessments. See how else we can assist with your COVID-19 needs, request a demo today.